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Cat in the Stax: Native American and Indigenous Heritage Month

As Falvey’s Cat in the Stax, Rebecca writes articles covering a broad range of topics, from academics to hobbies to random events. All the while highlighting how Falvey Library can enhance your Villanova experience!

In a previous blog post, I discussed how November celebrates creative writing and storytelling. This, however, is not the only observance of the month. November is also Native American and Indigenous Heritage Month. Officially established in 1990 by President George W. Bush, this month is dedicated to recognizing the contributions made by Indigenous peoples to the growth of the US as a nation as well as celebrating their traditions, histories, and cultures. What’s really cool is that you can honor both creative writing and Native Americans by supporting Native American storytelling! Use Falvey’s search catalogue to find books by Indigenous writers. This is a great chance to honor their voices and expand your readership. Here are some prominent Native American authors whose books can be found at the Library:

Sherman Alexie

Probably one of the most well-known Indigenous writers today, Sherman Alexie has written several novels as well as collections of poetry and short stories. He has received many awards for his work, including a National Book Award, which he won for the novel The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. His writing is influenced by his own experiences growing up on a Spokane Indian reservation, and it addresses serious themes such as poverty with humor and compassion.

Louise Erdrich

Louise Erdrich has written a plethora of novels as well as books of poetry, short stories, children’s books, and a memoir. Her first novel Love Medicine won the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1984. A later book, The Plague of Doves was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize. Erdrich’s work depicts Native American characters, focusing particularly on the Ojibwa people who live in the northern Midwest.

Joy Harjo

Joy Harjo is best known for her poetry, although she has also written memoirs, screenplays, and children’s books. The 23rd Poet Laureate of the United States, her more popular collections include In Mad Love and War, which won an American Book Award, The Woman Who Fell From the Sky, and A Map to the Next World: Poetry and Tales.

Gerald Vizenor

A professor of American Studies at the University of New Mexico, Gerald Vizenor is one of the most prolific Native American writers. He has written over 30 books along with several poems, screenplays, and essays. He won the American Book Award in 1988 for his novel Griever: An American Monkey King in China, which incorporates Native Mythology into a Chinese setting. He won the same award 20 years later for his book Shrouds of White Earth.

In honor of Native American and Indigenous Heritage month, the Library will be hosting a panel on Wednesday, Nov. 29 from 3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. This event is to celebrate the publication of Dana Lloyd’s new book “Land is Kin: Sovereignty, Religious Freedom, and Indigenous Sacred Sites.” Please consider attending.

Rebecca AmrickRebecca Amrick is a first year graduate student in the English Department and a Graduate Assistant at Falvey Library.


Dana Lloyd, PhD, on “Sovereignty, Religious Freedom, and Indigenous Sacred Sites”

In honor of Native American Heritage Month, please join us for an event to celebrate the publication of Dana Lloyd’s “Land is Kin: Sovereignty, Religious Freedom, and Indigenous Sacred Sites,” on Wednesday, November 29, at 3:30-4:30 p.m., in Falvey Library’s Speakers’ Corner on the first floor.

Land Is Kin demonstrates the complexity of land in contemporary religious, political, and legal discourse. By drawing on Indigenous perspectives on the land as kin, Lloyd points toward a framework that shifts sovereignty away from binary oppositions—between property and sacred site, between the federal government and Native nations—towards seeing the land itself as sovereign.

Panelists Elisha Chi (Theology and Religious Studies) and Ann C. Juliano (Charles Widger School of Law) will share their unique perspectives on Land is Kin, and author Dana Lloyd (Global Interdisciplinary Studies) will respond to their insights. Tim Horner (Peace and Justice, ACS) will moderate.

This ACS-approved event, which is part of Falvey’s Scholarship@Villanova lecture series, is co-sponsored by Falvey Library, Center for Peace and Justice Education, Department of Global Interdisciplinary Studies, and the Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law. It is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served. Books will be available for purchase at the event.



Weekend Recs: Native American Heritage Month

Happy Friday, Wildcats! Falvey Library is delivering you another semester of Weekend Recs, a blog dedicated to filling you in on what to read, listen to, and watch over the weekend. Annie, a graduate assistant from the Communication department, scours the internet, peruses the news, and digs through book stacks to find new, relevant, and thought-provoking content that will challenge you and prepare you for the upcoming week. 

The beginning of November marks the start of Native American Heritage Month. Before European colonization and genocide, the Americas had a thriving expanse of Indigenous cultures and communities, including the Philadelphia region. Centuries later, Pennsylvania remains one of the few states that does not include a reservation or officially recognize an Indigenous tribe within its borders, despite its Indigenous history. In celebration of Native American Heritage Month, this weekend’s recs seek to elevate Indigenous and Native American content and voices.

If you have 23 seconds…and want to check out an Indigenous activist and content creator, watch this TikTok from IndigenousIcon.

If you have 50 seconds…and are curious about the braids that some Native American cultures wear, watch this TikTok. In some Indigenous cultures, hair is extremely important, and the three strands of a braid represent mind, body, and spirit.

If you have 5 minutes…and don’t know about the horrific history of Indigenous residential schools in the US, read this article in TIME. This article gives key background and perspective on these brutal “schools.”

If you have another 5 minutes…and haven’t heard about the upcoming challenge to the Indian Child Welfare Act, read this article. It provides some explanation about the law and why it is so important for it to be upheld.

If you have 7 minutes…and are interested in climate activism, read this article about Indigenous climate action from the New York Times. This opinion piece, which discussed the Global Alliance of Territorial Communities, emphasizes the importance of centering Indigenous voices in climate change activism.

If you have another 7 minutes…and want to learn more about the history of the Indigenous people native to Philadelphia, read this article about the Lenape. The greater Philadelphia area, including Villanova, has a rich indigenous history and rests on Lenape land.

If you have 10 minutes…and want to learn about the ongoing Lenape struggle to be welcomed and recognized in Pennsylvania, read this article. (This article also helps shed further light on the situation).

Bonus: if you want to read about local efforts, read about this initiative Ursinus College, my alma mater, started to help Lenape people reconnect with their roots.

If you have 42 minutes…and want to hear some Native American perspectives on the history of Thanksgiving, listen to “The Thanksgiving Episode” of the Toasted Sister Podcast. This podcast, created and hosted by Andi Murphy, centers on Native American food and chefs, blending discussions of Indigenous history, culture, and experience with culinary expertise.

If you have 1 hour and 30 minutes…and want to watch a Native American cult classic, watch Smoke Signals, available through Falvey’s DVD Collection. Although the film is not perfect by any means, it’s an enjoyable coming-of-age film that allowed Indigenous people to see themselves in theaters and on screen in the late 1990s.

Bonus: if you want to watch some other Indigenous-made films, check out this list.

If you have a free weekend…and want to binge-watch a highly praised Indigenous-made television show, watch Reservation Dogs. This crime dramedy, created by Sterlin Harjo and Taika Waititi, features of host of talented Indigenous actors and production team and follows a California-bound group of Native American teenagers.

Annie Stockmal is a graduate student in the Communication Department and graduate assistant in Falvey Library.



Last Modified: November 4, 2022

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